Why do raccoons live in attics?
Raccoons are incredibly adaptable and intelligent creatures capable of thriving in nearly any environment. Their ability to find food and shelter in an ever expanding urban landscape has made them one of the most successful urban wildlife species. Although populations can vary greatly depending on the availability of food sources and den sites, most cities average between 15 and 25 raccoons per square kilometre. In fact, there are many more raccoons per square kilometre in cities than there are in rural areas. Studies show that that city life has produced significant differences in behaviour and physical makeup between urban and rural raccoons.
Raccoon populations in major urban centres, as well as in towns and suburbs, have surged in recent decades. As a nocturnal mammal, raccoons do most of their scavenging at night and will eat just about anything they find. Raccoons know exactly where to find unprotected garbage cans, gardens and pet food. Well-fed raccoons will live longer and have larger litters with better survival rates. In the absence of any natural predators, vehicle traffic, disease and infection represent the greatest threat to an urban raccoon’s life.
Raccoons do not construct their own den sites and would traditionally make their home inside natural tree and rock hollows. In urban areas, raccoons have discovered that attics, chimneys and sheds offer superior protection. Raccoons are at ease living alongside humans and prefer to make their home inside man-made structures.
The warmth and shelter provided by an attic makes it the ideal place is an ideal mate, raise families and keep out of the cold. For added security, raccoons maintain multiple den sites in a given neighbourhood. Raccoons born in cities have smaller ranges compared to their rural cousins. They seldom venture beyond a square kilometre in search of food and shelter and will avoid crossing major traffic arteries.
Skedaddle has been getting rid of raccoons from homes for over 24 years. Our trained specialists will perform a thorough inspection of your home to determine how the raccoons have found their way in. We then provide each of our customers with a written quote that outlines our findings as well as the exact solution we will implement to solve the problem and prevent it from happening again. If you suspect that your home is host to some raucous raccoons, be sure to call Skedaddle at 1-888-592-0387.
How to know if a raccoon has babies
Raccoons are incredibly adaptable animals that are completely at ease living amongst humans. For security against potential predators, raccoons prefer to make their homes above ground. With an amazing ability to climb, they easily gain access to roofs using trees, downspouts and in some cases climbing straight up walls. Using their intelligence, strength and hand-like paws, raccoons can easily gain access to almost any attic. Once inside, the protection, warmth and darkness provided by attics make them ideal raccoon den sites.
Unfortunately, once raccoons have decided to take up residence, it can be very difficult to get them out and keep them out. Removing raccoons from an attic is made especially difficult during baby season.
Your Attic is a Perfect Place to Raise Babies
Raccoon mating season varies considerably by geography. In northern climates, mating begins in January and can extend through July with the peak period occurring from February to April. Nine weeks after mating, female raccoons will give birth to a litter of one to eight babies with a typical litter containing three to five. A female raccoon gives birth once per year although in cases where a litter of babies is lost early, a second litter may be produced in its place. Male and female raccoons do not form pairs and babies are raised by their mothers.
To ensure the survival of their young, female raccoons require secure den sites. Ideal locations include: chimneys and attics as well as spaces below additions, sheds, decks and porches. The babies are almost always stashed away in places that are nearly impossible for humans to access.
Raccoon babies are born with their eyes closed and are capable of vocalizing almost immediately. Their constant squealing, chattering and crying is often mistaken for the song of a bird. By six weeks of age the babies will have begun to move and travel within the den site. During this time the noise and activity inside the attic usually becomes unbearable for most homeowners. Between weeks eight and twelve, they will have matured enough for their mother to take them foraging in the neighbourhood.
Juvenile raccoons will remain with their mother through autumn with males often leaving before their sisters. It is not uncommon for female raccoons to remain with their mothers through to the following spring.
How to Locate Raccoon Babies
During the birthing season, Skedaddle begins each raccoon removal with a thorough search of your home for babies. Immobile raccoon babies cannot be trapped or chased from the attic. That means they must be located and removed from the attic by hand.
We know that mother raccoons will go to great lengths to protect and hide their babies. Finding them is almost never easy and almost always involves crawling through a cramped, sweltering attic full of itchy fibreglass insulation that’s full of raccoon urine and feces. You must go where the raccoons go to find them.
Our wildlife technicians use their trained eyes and ears to find babies tucked away in hard to reach places like soffits and wall cavities. Of course, this also puts us in pretty intimate contact with mother raccoons that are never far away. When protecting their young, mother raccoons can be highly aggressive so you must be prepared to fend her off when retrieving the babies.
It is important to remain calm and in control of the mother the babies during this extraction process to ensure an effective removal. Once we have got hold of all the babies, we reunite them on the outside of the home with their mother by placing them inside a heated baby-box. From there, she can safely relocate them to one of her alternate den sites in the area.
Employing hands-on removal techniques to keep raccoon families together is not only humane, but also reduces the likelihood of further damage to your home. Making sure all babies are removed before repairing the raccoon’s entry point is very important. A mother raccoon that is locked away from its babies can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your roof as it seeks a way into the attic.
Likewise, trapping and relocating a mother raccoon away from her babies is no solution. Orphaned babies inside your attic die a slow, painful and needless death. It is often more difficult and costly to remove dead animals from your home. Decaying carcasses in your walls or attic can make your home unlivable.
If you believe that the raccoon taking up residence in your attic, chimney, shed or deck has babies it might be best to call in a professional. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control technicians have the experience and know-how to solve even the most complex raccoon problems. Call us today for an inspection at 1-888-592-0387.
How to remove raccoons from an attic
A thorough understanding of raccoon behaviour and biology is critical to their effective control. The first step in getting rid of raccoons is a complete exterior inspection of your home. Without knowing how they are coming and going you cannot prevent their return.
Raccoons have the strength and intelligence to access your attic by damaging soffits, siding and vent systems. Fortunately, they always leave clues as to how they have entered. In some cases, a raccoon’s entry point can be easily identified while standing on the ground. Other times it requires climbing ladders and scaling roofs in search of a tell-tale paw print or piece of fur.
Once we have identified all active and potential points of wildlife entry on your home we will prepare a written quote that details our findings and plan of action. We know that most homeowners never expect to play host to a family of raccoons and that the entire situation can be very stressful. Our technicians are happy to answer questions you may have and will always take the time to explain our proven process. All of Skedaddle’s work is backed for up to 5 years with a written guarantee.
We begin every removal by climbing into your attic and performing an exhaustive search for any immobile raccoon babies. Once located, the babies are quickly removed from your attic and placed inside a heated baby-box. Our technicians will position the baby-box near the mother’s entry and exit point so she can easily find and relocate them to one of her other den sites in the neighbourhood. While in the attic, your wildlife technician will inspect for damage and advise you of any clearing and cleaning required.
While searching for the babies, our technicians will physically chase the mother raccoon from the attic through her usual entry point. If we are unable force the mother out without putting her under undue stress, we will allow her to exit the attic on her own terms. Guided by her maternal instinct, a mother raccoon separated from her young will be highly motivated to exit the attic and reunite herself with her young.
To ensure that the mother raccoon cannot turn around and return to the attic, our technicians install a one-way door over her exit and secure any other potential points of entry. Skedaddle’s uniquely designed one-way doors allow raccoons to exit their den site while permanently blocking their access. Once a mother raccoon realizes that she can no longer get back in the attic she must begin relocating her babies to one of her well known alternate den sites.
As part of process Skedaddle technicians will deodorize your attic and the entry area to eliminate the scent that the animals have left behind. Raccoons communicate with one another through smell and deodorizing prevents the other 15 to 20 raccoons in the neighbourhood from being attracted to your home.
Finally, once Skedaddle has got rid of the raccoons and prevented their return, we will return to your home to remove the one-way door, secure the former entry area and perform a final inspection. Skedaddle’s proven process provides quick, humane and effective results that you can trust. Our call-centre is open seven days a week to take your call and answer questions you may have. Call us today at 1-888-592-0387.
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